Category Archives: refashion

dull t-shirt refashioned into femme cardigan

lace trim

The fabric fairy has recently blessed me with an unusual windfall: more ribbon, zippers, trim and other notions than I know what to do with.

Included in the stash was bolts and bolts of vintage lace trim…everything from sweet little eyelet lace, to elastic lace for lingerie, to hand crocheted trim probably originally intended for someone’s wedding trousseau (the picture above is about one third of the collection).

purple V neck t-shirt black dye and black trims

I had an idea to use some of the lace in a t-shirt refashion that would turn one of my many plain, long sleeve t-shirts into something more interesting: a pretty cardigan, perfect for fall days when you need another layer but want something a little special…anything but yet another hoodie.

My vision was simple: lace ruffle, followed by a smaller, chiffon-type print ruffle, and finished off with a velvet ribbon. I wanted an ultra feminine look that was all about varied textures, so I knew I didn’t want all three trims to be the same, flat black.

I picked up some dye from the craft store, with the intention of getting my lace trim a dark gray. I chose a print instead of a solid for the smaller, chiffon ruffle to help it stand out in between the lace and the velvet.

lace trim dyed light gray chain weight in the hem

I was very pleased with the dyeing results, because the lace ended up looking just the tiniest bit lavender, perfect to sit against my dark purple t-shirt.

The hardest part of the whole project was spacing out the ruffles evenly, which naturally is par for the course for hand-ruffled trims. I finished off the project by sewing in a chain into the hem of the finished cardigan, a little couture trick from the house of Chanel.

The legendary Chanel jackets are never made with stiff interfacing; a chain in the hem weighs down the fabric enough for it to hang properly from the shoulder, without adding bulky interlinings and such to help the jacket keep its boxy shape.

final refashioned cardigan

I was quite pleased with the final product, and wore it out Thursday night with an apple-green cowl neck top, a wide black and white obi belt, and black skirt + tights + boots. I added my usual dangly earrings and oversized cocktail ring and I was good to go!

{Check out part 2 of just say no to boring cardigans: new life for an old sweater.}


february refashions

So far, my adventure as a refashionista has been going very well. I set the goal of two refashions a month, and so far so good. I don’t even remotely have the urge to buy clothes in a store, so there’s no problem there. Here’s what I’ve done for February.

First, the sweater. I found a bag full of 100% wool sweaters in the back of my closet. I’ve obviously been saving them for felting projects, but I have also obviously completely forgotten about them. I have never felted in my life, and I would still like to, but I would like to have warm, wearable layers even more. So! I decided to refashion the sweaters instead. This is the first one!

A charcoal gray crew neck, that I’m sure I haven’t seen or worn since college (!). I have no idea why I was drawn to something so unspeakably dull and shapeless, but I no doubt got a lot of wear out of it back then. College (in the winter anyway) was very much about jeans + tiny t-shirt + giant sweater + Doc Martens. Thrilling, right?

I knew I wanted to turn it into a cardigan, and that I wanted to use a contrasting fabric to make the edging. At first I was going to pick a wild print from my fabric stash, but most of my stash is made up of wovens.

Mini sewing lesson for newbies: Woven fabric (like a dress shirt) only stretches on the bias (diagonally). In order to make woven fabric follow a curve without wrinkling or buckling (like on a neckline), you’d have to cut it on the bias. Which is a bit more work, not to mention takes up more fabric. Knit fabric (like a t-shirt) stretches with the grain and the cross grain (vertically and horizontally), so you can cut with the grain (not on the bias), and it will still curve nicely around a neckline.

I was feeling lazy, and had no desire to cut the edging on the bias, so I picked a black jersey instead. While in theory I wanted to make something colorful, the black jersey I have is really cheap and I knew I wouldn’t be sad if I botched this refashion and therefore ruined/wasted the jersey. Here is before and after:

All I did was cut up the middle, cut off the neckline, and apply the edging all around the raw, cut edges. I added ties so I wouldn’t have to worry about buttons or button holes. I took process pictures, so one day I might turn this into a tutorial, if anybody is interested. This is totally beginning sewing, anybody could do this, I promise!

My second refashion was even easier, and is less “refashion” and more just embellishment. This plain, exceedingly dull khaki skirt is barely more than year old. I bought it when I still had my day job and I needing lots of boring “business casual” crap to wear. Not terribly exciting, but definitely a useful staple.

I can’t imagine actually wanting to wear a plain khaki skirt on purpose anymore, so I decided to jazz it up a bit with some applique. I cut up an old t-shirt I got from Target that was 2 layers of incredibly thin jersey – a lovely wine color on top, and white underneath. I added some indigo blue corduroy (from my stash) and a tiny bit of embroidery to add some texture, and here we are.

Not very dramatic, but a marked improvement nonetheless. You can see a closeup of the circle motif here. I wish I had the patience to make more of them, because it might be fun to have the circle motif repeat all the way around the hem. Eh, next time!

I still have more sweaters to cut up, so there might be more refashions before the end of the month! What are you sewing?


wardrobe refashion

I have blogged about Wardrobe Refashion before, but this time I am official! I’ve joined up for six months. And I have a little web badge to prove it.

By officially joining up, I pledge to not buy any new, manufactured clothing for six months, and instead refashion what I already own, what I find at thrift stores, and using my existing fabric stash. The not buying new thing isn’t going to be a problem. And obviously I have a *huge* stash to draw upon, plus lots of clothes I don’t wear anymore. It’s the perfect project for me!

This challenge goes hand-in-hand with my plan to Make Something Everyday. My 365 project has already allowed me to finish a handful of UFOs (that’s “unfinished objects”) floating around, and my refashion projects will be no different. I have SO MANY clothes that I don’t wear anymore, that are too ugly/boring/dull/ill fitting for me to bother with trying to make an outfit out of them, but that are perfect for refashioning.

I’ve only done two so far (which isn’t bad, considering this is only the 2nd week of January), and the goal is to post on the Wardrobe Refashion blog once a week to keep the refashionistas up to date on what you’re up to. I posted my first official update this morning, hooray! Out of the two I’ve done so far, I know I’m going to wear this one the most:

This cardigan started out plain and quite dull, and now it is much more interesting, not to mention fitting a whole lot better. I’m sure there will be many more refashions among my daily projects, and you can check them out on my Flickr photostream. If anyone is interested, I’d be happy to put together a tutorial on how I did this to my cardigan, it was super-easy and I’m sure I’m going to give several more the same treatment. What did you make today? I want to see!